I’m on a plane, heading back to Chicago after spending a couple days in Dallas for a friend’s wedding. I’m feeling a little tired. Also a little hungover.
And a little sheepish.
My first impression of Texas was terrible. When I got into the city on Friday, it was a miserable 103 degrees. I didn’t like the smell of the asphalt. I didn’t like the giant houses behind giant strip malls where giant restaurants served giant portions of food. And I especially didn’t like the alt-right billboards—covered in scripture and pictures of Jesus—as if quoting the bible somehow absolved them of their creepiness.
Suffice it to say: it wasn’t love at first sight.
I was feeling pretty righteous about my judgments until I unpacked my bags in McKinney and headed into town. I’m a wimp when it comes to heat so I popped into the first store I saw: The Groove Coop.
I instantly fell in love with every person in that store. I stayed for 30 minutes and bought 8 vinyl records.
Then I stopped at an Irish pub called The Celt. The bartender showed up in a t-shirt that read: “Mom, Dad…I’m GAELIC.” I laughed and complimented her fashion sense. I stayed for more than an hour and made a mental note to visit again.
The rest of the weekend followed suit. I made fast friends with another couple that flew down for the wedding, and we ended up museum hopping together. The wedding itself was the most beautiful service I’ve ever attended, with the bride and groom asking guests to donate to charity rather than give gifts, and the bridesmaids walked down the aisle with shelter dogs in need of homes.
Turns out, I love Texas.
Reader, it’s hard to get a good look at something at a fast glance. Taking time to enjoy, appreciate, and experience places and people that are different than us allows us to form a real impression, not a superficial one based on righteousness.
(Besides, it turns out that eating the giant portions and drinking the giant drinks was a lot more fun than casting aspersions on them.)
Whatever you’re up to this week, I hope also you find yourself enjoying more and judging less. See you next Sunday. -Em